When you head to the driving range to practice your game, what do you work on? If you are like most players, the mechanics of your swing get almost all of the attention. You probably work on your balance, tempo, grip, shoulder turn, swing plane and more. Each of those elements are important pieces of the puzzle and you would be smart to spend time improving them. However, there is another important piece that is overlooked by most amateur golfers – aim. Learning how to aim your shots properly, and then learning how to pick the right target for your shots, is a valuable skill. Only when you know how to aim correctly will all of the work that you have done on your swing mechanics start to pay off.

The physical act of aiming your golf club at the target you have picked out shouldn't be terribly difficult after just a little bit of practice. The important thing is that you aim the face of the club at the target line you have selected – which might not actually be the hole itself. Many golfers make the mistake of simply aiming their clubface at the hole automatically instead of thinking strategically about the ball flight they plan to use and where the safest spot to land the ball might be. By putting more time and effort into picking out a good target for your shots, you will give yourself a far better chance at success.

When you hit a golf shot that misses the target, where do you usually place the blame? If you are like most golfers, you immediately think that something went wrong in your swing. And, to be sure, that might be the case. However, it is also possible that your aim is to blame. After all, if you aimed in the wrong direction at address, even the best swing isn’t going to save you. If you’ve been taking the importance of aim for granted up until this point, it’s about time you get serious about knowing exactly where you are pointing the club face prior to each swing.

Aim – Golf Lessons & Tips

The importance of aim should be obvious, but it seems that many players overlook how crucial it is to aim correctly. Since golf is a target-based game, you have to hone your ability to aim at the targets you select before you can get anywhere near your potential. All the effort you put in at the driving range to learn how to control your ball flight is going to be wasted if you don’t master the art of aiming properly.

With this article, we’d like to take a close look at the topic of aiming your golf shots. Even golfers who do pay attention to this topic tend to run into some mistakes along the way, so we hope the content below will clear things up for you.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Clubhead Aim Techniques In The Golf Shot
Ensuring Correct Aim For An Athletic Golf Posture
Setting Your Body Position To Match Your Golf Aim
A Simple Formula For Getting Your Golf Aim Correct
Top 4 Tips On The Best Way To Aim At Your Golf Target
Correct Your Aim To The Target For Best Trajectory And Shot Shape
Correcting Your Aim On The Golf Course
How do You Aim Your Club?
How Golf Club Face Aim Can Alter During The Short Game
How To Aim Straight Off The Golf Tee
Set Up Your Golf Shot: Aim for Middle of Green to Lower Your Scores
Aim Perfectly Every Time
How To Change Your Aim To Account For An Over The Top Golf Swing

Beginner Golf Aim: The Secret to Perfect Aim in Golf
Aim Your Golf Shots Properly And Shoot Lower Scores
Best Way To Aim Your Ladies Hybrid Golf Club
Golf – How to Aim Straight off the Tee Box
How Do You Aim Your Hybrid Golf Club
Have Patience And Aim Correctly
How To Aim The Head Of A Thomas Golf Senior Hybrid Club
How to Aim Your Putter

Right Hand Golf Tip: Aim your Body Right to Help Increase your Backswing Turn
The Golf Aim Game
Slice Golf Shot Drill 5 Aim left and hit straight

Aim Putting, How Can I Aim Putts Better
Golf Alignment, How Can I Improve My Aim Even On Badly Aligned Tee Boxes
Should I Aim My Large Breaking Putts To An Apex Point On The Golf Green
Golf Bunker Shot, Where Should I Aim The Face When Playing High Bunker Shots?
Should I Aim Straight at Every Flag?
How Can I Improve My Aim On Tee Shots?
Should I Always Aim Straight To Each Hole On The Golf Course?
How Can I Precisely Aim My Golf Drives
Should I Always Aim To Fly The Golf Ball As High As Possible On To The Green?
How Can I Take Dead Aim With My Golf Putter
How Do You Aim The Golf Club To Hit Straight Golf Shots?
How Do You Aim Your Body Ready To Hit Straight Golf Shots?
Whats More Important Putting Aim or Stroke Path
Where Should My Body Aim During The Set Up For More Accurate Golf Putts
How Should I Aim My Hybrid Golf Clubs

— The Basics of Aim in Golf

On the surface, it seems like aim in golf should be pretty simple. You pick a target, point the club in that direction, and hit the shot – right? Not quite. While you don’t want to overcomplicate the process, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when figuring out exactly how to aim. In this section, we’ll go over the basics, so you are clear on what you’re trying to accomplish in practice and on the course.

First, let’s define a few terms that we will need to use in this discussion.

  • Target. This is where you want the ball to end up when all is said and done. It’s important to understand that what counts as a reasonable target is going to depend on the shot at hand. For a short putt, you will obviously make the hole your target. However, that’s not reasonable for a shot from 200-yards away, so in that situation you’ll probably pick part of the green as your objective. You should always have a specific target in mind for every shot you hit, even when you are just hitting a tee shot to a relatively wide fairway. Using specific targets helps to focus your mind and give your swing some purpose – some of the worst shots you will ever hit are those where you lack focus and direction. Get into the habit of always picking a clear target and you’ll be happier with your results.
  • Target line. Many golfers go wrong here – the target line for your shot is not necessarily the same thing as a line that runs straight from your ball to the hole. Why not? Simple – the ball is likely to curve as it travels. For putts, the ball will curve because of the slope of the ground. On full shots, the curve is the result of the spin that is on the ball. Completely straight shots are rare in this game, with the exception of short putts in a flat section of the green. So, you’ll need to pick out a target line that is going to allow your ball to curve back to the ultimate target for the shot. If you tend to hit a slight draw, your normal pattern will be to choose a target line that is slightly to the right of the target itself. Or, when you face a left to right breaking putt, you’ll pick a target line a bit to the left of the cup. Your ability to choose an appropriate target line on each shot is one of the biggest pieces of the aiming puzzle.
  • Intermediate target. This is another big element that many golfers ignore. The use of an intermediate target isn’t required in the game of golf, but it is highly recommended and is something that is used by many of the world’s best golfers. What is an intermediate target? It’s something – anything – along your chosen target line that is closer to the ball than the target itself. Usually, it is something like a discolored bit of grass or a small piece of debris that is a short distance in front of your ball. When you pick out something that is directly on your intended line, you can use that spot to aid in your alignment, rather than trying to align yourself with a target that may be hundreds of yards away. It’s hard to aim accurately when the target is so far off in the distance – it’s much easier when it’s right in front of your ball. We’ll talk later about how to integrate the use of an intermediate target into your game.
  • Club face position. Finally, we need to mention the role that the position of your club face plays in all of this. Once you have picked out your target line, and hopefully selected an intermediate target, it will be time to step up and take your stance. When you do so, you’ll place the club behind the ball and aim the face. The goal here is to set the club face perpendicular to the target line you’ve picked. As mentioned above, it’s going to be much easier to get your club face position right if you are using an intermediate target.

The terms above might be a little confusing at first, but it’s really quite simple when you think it through. As long as you take the time to understand these concepts and how they relate to one another, you should be well on your way to improved aim in the near future.

— Common Golf Aim Mistakes

Believe it or not, many of the poor shots you hit on the course are actually the result of errant aim, rather than a poor swing. It’s easy to blame faulty swing technique each time the ball strays into the wrong part of the course, but your mechanics may not be at fault all the time. On occasion, the right place to point your finger is at your ability to aim correctly.

There are a number of ways aim can go wrong, and the list below contains a few of the most popular.

  • Not even trying. Okay, so we are going to get this one out of the way right from the start – some golfers don’t even try to aim correctly. It’s not that they are trying to aim poorly, of course, but they just don’t pay this issue much attention at all. Some players just walk up to the ball, take their stance, and assume they are aiming in the right direction. Are they? Maybe some of the time, but definitely not all of the time. Put it this way – if you don’t have a plan for how you are going to aim correctly, you can be sure you’re getting it wrong quite a bit. Even golfers who carefully work on their aim are going to miss the mark on occasion, so those who neglect the importance of this element are surely off track with regularity. If you hope to aim more accurately and lower your scores as a result, one of the first things you should do is give this part of the game the respect it deserves.
  • Setting the feet first. This is a subtle mistake that can have a big impact on your aim. When you walk up to the ball, what do you put in place first? Your feet, or the club? If you want to aim accurately, the correct answer is that you should put the club head down first before setting your feet. Basically, you want to position the club head properly behind the ball, then put your feet in place to match. If you set your feet first and then put the club head down, it’s unlikely that you will be aimed correctly. In fact, most people who do this wind up aiming to the right of the target, since they set their feet toward the target which leads the club face to be pointed out wide to the right. Walk up to the ball, set the club head down in the proper position, then settle into your stance. It’s a simple process, and one that will make you a more accurate player.
  • Neglecting the curve. As hard as it might be to believe, some golfers plan to hit the ball straight. When they see a target for a shot, they aim right at that target and attempt to hit the ball straight. This method ignores the fact that it’s nearly impossible to hit the ball straight with any regularity. Professional golfers typically don’t try for straight shots, as they instead lean on a preferred shot pattern (whether that is a draw or a fade). Sure, pros hit shots that usually don’t curve as much as amateur shots, but they aren’t trying to hit it straight. When planning a shot and picking out where you are going to aim, you should always be counting on some degree of curve. Get to know your standard shot pattern as closely as possible and trust it when it comes time to aim.
  • Trusting the tee box. This point relates only to tee shots, but it is an issue that can easily get you in trouble. When you set up onto the tee for any given hole, that tee box will be oriented in a specific direction. Often, an imaginary line connecting the two tee markers will be perpendicular to the proper aim line for that hole. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, tee boxes are pointed in weird directions that don’t actually help the player at all. If you walk up and trust the tee to point you in the right direction, you might be in for an unwelcome surprise when you look up and see where the ball is headed. Instead of trusting the tee box, stick to your plan for aiming properly and ignore everything else.

Unfortunately, like most other things in golf, there are plenty of ways for aim to go wrong. If you notice that you are making one or two of the mistakes listed above in your own game, make it a point to eliminate those errors and tighten up your accuracy.

— Mastering Aim on the Course

We’ve made it clear to this point that aim is not something you can take for granted in golf. It’s not as automatic as some people seem to think, and as a result, it is something that demands your attention if you are going to play well. At this point, we are ready to turn our attention to how we can get it right with regard to aim. Yes, there are plenty of ways it can go wrong, but building an ‘aim system’ will make it relatively easy to point yourself in the right direction.

Below is a step-by-step process that you can use to get yourself on track. Feel free to make minor adjustments to this process to fit your needs but try to keep the general framework in place for best results.

1. Pick the target. This is always where it is going to start. Golf is a target game, so every shot should begin by selecting the target you’ll use. As mentioned earlier in the article, the target you pick will be based entirely on the shot at hand. Pretty much every putt is going to use the hole for a target, but you will need larger targets on longer shots. As you pay more and more attention to the importance of aim in your game, you’ll naturally improve your ability to pick smart targets.

2. Settle on a target line. The next step is to move from target to target line. For some shots, this will be pretty easy. For instance, imagine you are hitting a tee shot on a straight par four with a wide fairway. You have decided to aim for the middle of the fairway, and you know that a small fade is your usual ball flight. So, you select a target line that is a few yards left of the middle of the fairway and get ready to hit your shot. Picking the target line gets trickier, however, when you add elements such as wind and uneven lies. And, to go even further, it’s particularly tricky when putting and trying to figure out the slope of the ground. One important piece of advice here is to settle on your target line and be 100% convinced that you’ve made the right decision. Confidence and conviction are essential here. If you go up to hit the shot while still wondering if you made the right choice, you’ll never execute the swing correctly. Whatever your choice may be, convince yourself that it is absolutely the right way to go.

3. Find your intermediate target. This is where you start to take action. Now that you know what your target line will be, stand a few steps behind the ball and find something that you can use as an intermediate target. Once you start looking, you may be surprised to find how many options you have on your target line, even on a well-manicured course. Pick out something that it easy to identify and keep your eye on it as you walk up to the ball.

4. Position the club, then your feet. Using your intermediate target as a reference point, place the club behind the ball and aim the face at that intermediate target. With that set, move your feet into position and establish your stance. At this point, all the aiming work is done, and the only thing left to do is hit the shot. It’s important not to spend too much time standing over the ball once you’ve built your stance, as you are only going to get tight and have trouble making a smooth swing.

We know what you are thinking – sure, that sounds like a nice process, but it is going to take forever! I’m going to fall way behind the group in front, and all of my playing partners are going to get fed up with me. It might seem like that at first, but you can actually go through these steps in a way that won’t slow anyone down.

The first key is to get right to work on your target line as soon as you arrive at your ball. There is no reason to wait until it is your turn to swing to start working on your plan – get to work right away so you are ready to hit when it’s your turn. Also, being decisive will allow you to keep the pace of play moving right along. Pick a smart target, choose the right target line, trust it, and send the ball on its way. As long as you practice this routine on the range, you should be able to work through it on the course in a timely manner.

— Aim in the Short Game

Let’s wrap up our aim discussion by talking a little more specifically about the short game. We have talked a bit about short game aim so far, but this important topic deserves a closer look. The following points below should help you improve in this area.

  • Intermediate targets still apply. It might seem like you can skip the idea of an intermediate target in the short game, since the hole is now not very far away. However, since you need to be so accurate in the short game to be successful, it’s a good idea to use an intermediate target for all of your shots, including the short ones. Believe it or not, your intermediate target habit may be particularly helpful on short putts, as it will take some of the stress away that usually comes with three- and four-footers. Instead of obsessing over the hole, you can just roll the ball over your intermediate target and hope for the best.
  • Chip and pitch shots break, too. One easy mistake to make when aiming short game shots is to just aim directly at the hole on chip and pitch shots. You know to play for break on your putts, but you may forget that chips and pitches are going to break too, once they start rolling. Read the green like you would for a putt and pick a good target line that gives the ball plenty of room to break toward the cup.
  • Take pace into consideration. When aiming your short game shots, you have to take into consideration how hard you plan to hit the shot. The ball is going to take more of the break as it loses speed, so decide whether you are going to be aggressive with your pace or try to stop the ball right at the hole. If you play with conservative speed, be sure to play plenty of break so the ball has room to move toward the cup as it loses steam.

If you are able to improve your aim on the golf course, it is nearly inevitable that you will improve your scores, as well. Aiming properly isn’t the only thing you have to do in order to play well, but it is high on the list. It seems so simple, but in this game, it’s often the simple things that make a big difference. We hope the information provided above helps you make quick and significant improvements – good luck!